Escrow agencies generally hire escrow assistants with at least one year of relevant experience and knowledge of the real estate industry. One year certificate programs and two year associate's degrees are available, which teach students about the real estate processes. Escrow assistants are required to have a high school diploma or GED certificate. Although high school may be the only educational requirement set by an employer, a formal real estate training program can give escrow assistants an advantage over those without post-secondary training.
Escrow assistants work on all stages of real estate financial transactions. They should be organized and able to handle multiple administrative tasks. Escrow assistants need excellent customer service and communication skills in order to work with real estate clients and financial officers. Most escrow agencies require assistants to have experience with Microsoft Office and basic data entry. Knowledge of real estate processes and regulation is often preferred by employers.
Real Estate Certificate
Real estate certificate programs introduce students to basic real estate processes, including appraisals, real estate sales, financial investing, and economic analysis. Students learn the roles played by banks, real estate agencies, and clients. Certificate programs typically include courses on:
- Real estate law
- Real estate practices
- Residential and commercial building appraisals
- Economic and housing trends
- Financial processes in real estate
- Real estate market analysis
Associate of Science in Real Estate Studies
An associate's degree program in real estate provides students with a more comprehensive real estate and economic education. In addition to specialized real estate courses, students take courses on finance, investing, macroeconomics, microeconomics, and business operation. These programs commonly offer courses in:
- Real estate economics
- Real estate foreclosures
- Investing concepts
- Affordable housing laws
- Strategic management of real estate
- Real estate appraisal theory
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Real estate agents as of May 2015 make a mean annual wage of $58,410, according to the BLS. This profession from 2014-2024 is expected to see an 3% growth, which is as fast as the average.
Although escrow officers are typically required to be licensed, escrow assistants are not required to be licensed or certified. Since they only provide basic assistance to escrow officers, they are not held to the same professional licensing standards.
Escrow workshops may be available from colleges that offer real estate degree programs. Because most employers require escrow assistants to have an existing knowledge of escrow and real estate practices, workshops are not typically held by employers. The American Escrow Association (AEA) offers online seminars for escrow assistants, officers, real estate agents and financial professionals. Online seminars are offered at various dates throughout the year and address economic trends within real estate and escrow services. The AEA offers valuable professional development resources for escrow professionals, including best practices, annual conferences, current escrow legislation, and consumer relations information. Membership to AEA includes additional career and continuing education benefits.
To advance in the field, many escrow assistants with sufficient experience become escrow officers. Escrow officers have greater responsibilities and earn greater salaries. Supervisory or management positions within escrow agencies are also available for escrow professionals with extensive experience.
Escrow assistants can most easily find training in certificate and associate's programs, with further development from continuing education programs, licensure, and certification to help increase their employability and advancement within a company.